An often neglected measure in the nursing profession is standard precautions. This is evident from the fact that during the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of HIV and HCV victims because of accidental pricking of needles that were contaminated with blood of infected patients. It’s also fairly common for a patient to acquire an infection while being hospitalized due to inadequate or infrequent hand washing.
While the current trends indicate an improvement in regularity preventive measures, normal bacterial infections continue to be a threat for nurses and the patients they serve.
One of the threats is resistance to the causative agent, Propionibacterium acnes. Nurses that practice in hospitals are normally prone to acquire this bacteria from infected patients.
Understanding drug resistance bacteria
Due to the excessive use of antibacterial agents in hospitals, there has been increase in the population of drug resistant bacteria. One famous class of such bacteria is the methicillin resistant bacteria or MRSA.
The standard operating procedures help nurses to avoid contact with pathogens like MRSA. However, they can still come in contact with skin based bacteria as it has the most vulnerable line of defense. This becomes particularly troublesome if the nurse is not wearing gloves, does not wash his/her hands appropriately, or has any cuts or scraps that come into contact with the germs. Interestingly enough, often times this bacteria is spread to other parts of a nurses body through simple contact. And a bacteria that might have been relatively harmless on your hand can cause a nasty outbreak of acne, no matter what your age.
I bet you never thought of acne as a hospital acquired infection.
Nurses who become a victim of bacterial acne while working in hospitals should avoid using creams that are antibiotic in nature. Instead, benzoyl peroxide gel and non-antibiotic creams are better alternatives. This is because P.acne in hospitals is mostly resistant to a wide range of antibiotics. So either a higher dose or a higher generation of antibiotic will be required. Both of these strategies are not recommended since they can harm the skin in the long run. Moreover, antibiotic mediated therapy does little to control the inflammation (redness/spots on facial skin).
Benzoyl peroxide is better in the sense that it limits the inflammation. The evidence can be found in a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. The researchers analyzed the efficacy of benzoyl peroxide on P.acne that was resistant to antibiotic therapy. The results were strongly in favor of benzoyl peroxide and validated its status as an effective treatment for acne vulgaris.
Another aspect is that antibiotic therapy can lead to collateral cell damage. Though it will limit the amount of bacteria, the victims have to rely on the use of nourishing creams to keep the skin rejuvenated. And as a nurse you should know that using antibiotics for the skin can decrease sensitivity to other antibiotics for more issues.
The microbes and pathogens present in the environment of the hospital are different in nature compared to those present in normal environment . Excessive use of anti-microbial agents has bred a generation of resistant bacteria that can easily affect nurses if safety measures are not in place.The same principle applies in the case of acne proliferation.
Therefore it is important for nurses to be aware of the pathogens that can be transferred during patient care, to exercise precautions to prevent spread of acne bacteria, and to properly treat if you become infected.